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Gardai tell bicycle owners to “Lock it or Lose It”

— 14,000 bikes have been stolen since 2016.

— Gardai urge owners to lock up and report bicycle thefts.

Only 16% of owners of the bicycles reported stolen in the last three years had recorded their bicycle’s frame numbers, which can help reunite recovered bicycles with their owners.

While the “Lock it or Lose It” tag line might seem harsh, it’s a reminder that bicycles are stolen without being locked, locked poorly or locked with cheap locks that are easily cut or broken. Like the bicycle lock in this CCTV footage released today:

Launching the campaign Gardai released a breakdown of bike theft incidents: All figures provided are from 1st January 2016 – 30th June 2018 and are subject to change:

  1. Dublin 9918
  2. Cork 683
  3. Limerick 646
  4. Galway 506
  5. Kildare 368
  6. Louth 280
  7. Waterford 255
  8. Wicklow 215
  9. Kilkenny/Carlow 197
  10. Meath 174
  11. Westmeath 152
  12. Kerry 139
  13. Laois/Offaly 135
  14. Wexford 89
  15. Sligo/Leitrim 61
  16. Clare 60
  17. Roscommon/Longford 59
  18. Mayo 51
  19. Tipperary 48
  20. Cavan/Monaghan 45
  21. Donegal 31

Bikes stolen in each year:

  • 2016 – 5684
  • 2017 – 6109
  • 2018 – 2319 (year to date)
  • Total 14,112

Gardai said that owners should secure their bicycles as best as possible as they confirmed bicycle theft “was up 7.5% in 2017 and is on course to increase again in 2018.”

The average cost of a bike stolen is around €510 and most common time for a bike to be stolen is during the hours of 8am and 5pm, with Friday being statistically the most common day for bikes to be stolen, the Gardai said.

Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway make up 83% of the theft of bikes.

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Just over half of reported thefts (52%) are stolen on public streets while 32% are stolen from homes, the Gardai said.

Crime prevention officer Sergeant Tony Davis said: “We are appealing to everyone from the pros to the Sunday cyclist to lock their bikes as securely as possible. There has been an increase in the number of people cycling over recent years but unfortunately there is poor awareness of bike security. Nowadays with cycle the to work schemes, people are investing in more expensive bikes so it makes sense to invest in quality locks to prevent bike theft.”

Sergeant Davis added: There is a trend of not reporting theft of bikes to Gardaí which makes it difficult for us to reunite any recovered bikes with their owners. If your bike is stolen, report the theft to Gardaí as soon as you can. If you are buying a second hand bike, look for proof of ownership before purchasing.

He said: “If you have had your bicycle stolen, you can go onto the Garda website to view bicycles and all other property that is currently in our property stores. Finally, I would ask all bicycle suppliers to highlight the ‘Lock it or Lose it’ campaign when someone is purchasing a bike’.”

A selection of bikes and other property that are currently in Garda property stores can be viewed at

Gardai recommend the following tips:

  • Spend 10% to 20% of the value of your bike of two locks
  • Lock your bike tightly to an immovable object
  • Keep the lock off the ground
  • Take a photo of your bike, note the serial number and email it back to yourself so you have a record of it forever.
  • Lock your bike indoors or in well-lit areas if possible is reader-funded journalism. That means it's funded by readers like you.

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Cian Ginty


  1. Proper punishment for those who buy stolen bikes would be an effective way to reduce theft too. I remember having a discussion with someone who thought they weren’t doing anything wrong because they didn’t know FOR A FACT that what they were buying from a random guy in the pub for a tenth of what it was worth was stolen. He genuinely didn’t think he was a scumbag no better than the thieves and didn’t appreciate me pointing it out.


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